The following Question Without Notice was asked by the Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman and answered in Parliament today by the Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA.


Mr T. REDMAN to the Minister for Emergency Services:

I refer to the McGowan government’s cut of more than $2 million of royalties for regions funding from the enhanced prescribed burning program outlined in the mid-year financial review.

(1) Does the minister agree that this funding cut will threaten the state’s capacity to maintain the low fuel buffers necessary for effective firefighting?

(2) As the Minister for Emergency Services and the minister who will be front and centre in a major bushfire event, what is he doing to ensure the state meets its fuel reduction targets and secures the safety of our south west and hills communities?

Mr F. LOGAN replied:

(1)–(2) For someone who claims to be the opposition spokesperson for emergency services, I am surprised the member for Warren–Blackwood has not read more about this and taken notice of all the things we have done over the last year in the area of bushfire mitigation and the answers I have given to questions in this house. The member has even been at some of the forums himself where we have announced what we are doing.

Mr T. Redman: So why did you cut funding?

Mr F. LOGAN:

Let us not go through this where I start answering and the member for Warren–Blackwood immediately interjects on me. Let me answer the question.

Let us do that today instead of the member continuing to interject on me. I will answer his question.

It was quite clear in the budget last year how we would not only replace the royalties for regions funding that his government had not committed to when he was in government, but also enhance it. In total, we have $35 million— not $2 million—available for the first time ever for mitigation on state land.

The second thing we did was enhance royalties for regions funding for local governments. Remember, the member’s government had not made provision for it.

The member for Warren–Blackwood knows exactly how it is supposed to be funded, or I thought he did. The bushfire risk mitigation planning has been completed by over 26 shires around Western Australia—45 shires are in the process of undertaking that—which can now get access to up to $17 million worth of mitigation funding to make their area safer. They can get access to it. It is not $2 million; it is $17 million! On top of that, $35 million of mitigation funding is made available for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Point of Order

Mr T. REDMAN: The question was specifically related to prescribed burning. The minister has not targeted the response to the question that has been asked.

The SPEAKER: I think he is talking about prescribed burning.

Mr F. Logan: I am talking about prescribed burning.

The SPEAKER: It is not a point of order.

Questions without Notice Resumed

Mr F. LOGAN:

If the member is talking about prescribed burning as it relates to the Department of Parks and Wildlife, he had better ask the correct minister.

If the member is talking about the use of fire for mitigation, which is exactly what we are talking about—otherwise deemed as prescribed burning—can I inform the member once again that our investment of over $50 million knocks the member’s $2 million into a cocked hat.

ENHANCED PRESCRIBED BURNING PROGRAM – SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION

Mr T. REDMAN to the Minister for Emergency Services:

I have a supplementary question.

Given the lack of respect and credence for the minister’s agency’s advice on the bushfire risk in the Mt Helena subdivision and his government’s cuts to the prescribed burning program, does he agree that Western Australian communities are now at greater risk of bushfires than ever before?

Mr F. LOGAN replied: I would not say that that is a supplementary question. The member decided to throw into —

The SPEAKER: Do you want to answer the question?

Mr F. LOGAN: I will, but I am putting —

The SPEAKER: Do not say whether the right question has been asked. Answer it, please—or sit down.

Mr F. LOGAN: The member has just thrown into a question about prescribed burning —

Several members interjected.

The SPEAKER: Sit down. Next question.

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